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Thread: 2018 nfl football sneak peek at teams/predictions/news/notes/picks etc. !

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  1. #151  
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    Saturday's Afternoon Action
    August 23, 2018



    NFL Preseason Week 3 - 49ers vs. Colts


    Every preseason, there are always a few storylines that make us focus on a couple of teams more than any other. Oftentimes, we want to see how the high draft picks look in the pros as we try to determine who will be great and who will be a bust. It’s also always interesting to see how players adjust after making a high profile, big money move to another team.


    While neither of those scenarios are really playing out in San Francisco or Indianapolis, these are still a pair of teams that we are keeping an eye on through the preseason games. The 49ers saw their fortunes take a bit of a turn at the tail end of last season when they picked up Jimmy Garoppolo from the New England Patriots, as he came in and won all 5 games that he started.


    In Indianapolis, we are all paying attention to the return of Andrew Luck after a long spell out with injury. These are two men that could very well play a major role in the rise or fall of their respective teams.


    NFL Preseason - San Francisco 49ers at Indianapolis Colts
    Saturday, August 25 at 4:30 PM ET
    Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis
    Indianapolis Colts pk -110 | U 43 -110



    Why bet on the San Francisco 49ers


    If there was a knock on Garoppolo last season in his 5-game stint, it was that he had a tendency to throw a few too many picks. He has seen limited playing time this preseason, but the INT remains a bit of an issue. He barely saw the field in the opener against Dallas, but we got a decent look in the Week 2 loss to Houston, where Jimmy G went 10/12 for 136 yards and a TD, but also an INT.


    That score was one of the few that the 49ers have had this preseason, as their 18.5 PPG is way down in the standings. Their inability to punch home scores is all the more frustrating when you see that they are first in average total yards per game and second in average passing yards. This is a team that looks as though they may be forced to throw, as the running game has stalled early, averaging just 91 YPG.


    Why bet on the Indianapolis Colts


    Colts fans have been holding their breaths through the opening two weeks of the season, waiting too see if Andrew Luck is going to hold up after returning from injury. The fact here is that the outcomes of these games mean little to Colts fans, as it’s all about getting Luck some playing time and hoping that he can stay healthy.


    The numbers for Luck are not great, as he has gone 12/22 for 114 yards and an INT through his brief appearances. He has shown nice little flashes at times, though, although there does need to be some concern that he has already been sacked 3 times in those limited appearances. The Colts are going to need to get that sorted out if they expect Luck to last the entire season under center.


    Expert Pick and Series Prediction


    I don’t think we are in for a whole lot of scoring here, but I do believe that it will be the 49ers who come away with the Week 3 win on the road.


    San Francisco 49ers 20 Indianapolis Colts 13
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  2. #152  
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    SATURDAY, AUGUST 25
    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS


    KC at CHI 01:00 PM
    CHI +6.0
    O 43.5



    HOU at LAR 04:00 PM
    HOU -3.0
    U 40.0



    TEN at PIT 04:00 PM
    TEN +4.0
    O 43.5

    SF at IND 04:30 PM
    SF +0.0
    U 42.0



    ATL at JAC 07:00 PM
    ATL +4.0
    U 39.0



    BAL at MIA 07:00 PM
    MIA +1.0
    U 41.0



    NO at LAC 08:00 PM
    NO +1.0
    O 43.0
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  3. #153  
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    Sunday’s six-pack


    — John McCain’s mother is still alive; she is 106 years old.


    — Reds’ P Homer Bailey makes $21M this year; Cincinnati is 1-16 in his starts.


    — Hawai’i 43, Colorado State 34— Ugly start to the season for the Rams.


    — Wyoming 29, New Mexico State 7— Disappointing home opener for the Aggies.


    — Washington Nationals have been shut out in their last three games.


    — Betting handle for Travers Day at Saratoga Saturday was $52,086,597; that includes everywhere around the country where people wager on horse racing.


    Quote of the Day
    “You’re not as bad as you think.”
    Nebraska coach Tom Osborne to Nick Saban in 1995, when the Cornhuskers beat Saban’s first Michigan State team 50-10 in the season opener.


    Sunday’s quiz
    Which current major league team used to be known as the Seattle Pilots?


    Saturday’s quiz
    Vikings’ QB Kirk Cousins played his college football at Michigan State.


    Friday’s quiz
    Troy Aikman played college football at Oklahoma and UCLA.


    ********************


    Sunday’s List of 13: Nobody asked me, but…….


    13) ESPN’s Sunday night game this week is New York-Baltimore, because ESPN is obsessed with New York and the Red Sox. There is no other way to explain it.


    Putting the pathetic (37-93) Orioles on national TV in late August during the heat of the pennant race is gross stupidity. Meanwhile, Cardinals-Rockies is an important series in the NL Wild Card race, but no chance ESPN ever puts Colorado on national TV, and for that, they’re idiots.


    12) Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pirates 7-6 in 15 innings Friday night, in a strange game where the Brewers scored four times in the first inning, blew a 9th-inning lead, then scored three times to win the game after Pittsburgh grabbed a 6-4 lead in the 15th.


    Milwaukee never scored from the 2nd to 14th inning; they were down 6-4 in the 15th, had two on and two out with pitcher Jordan Lyles, a career .123 hitter up- he drew a walk, and two hits later, the Brewers had an emotional win.


    11) Why did the Cubs trade for Daniel Murphy? Murphy has the best batting average of any regular player ever at Wrigley Field, over .400.


    10) One of my all-time favorite TV shows was Magnum, PI; for better or worse, I can still recite stuff from episodes I first saw 35 years ago.


    CBS is re-making Magnum PI this fall; not sure how I feel about that.


    9) Detroit Lions tried a 62-yard FG just before the half in Tampa Friday; Adam Humphries caught the ball nine yards deep in the end zone and ran it back 109 yards for a TD, lot like the Alabama-Auburn game a few years ago.


    Not a lot of real fast, athletic guys blocking for field goals, so Detroit’s tackling was suspect.


    8) Lions were down 27-6 in third quarter of this (meaningless) game, but rallied to win 33-30, scoring a TD with 0:30 left for the win, after an 80-yard punt return for a TD brought them back to within 30-26 with 4:53 left. Meaningless, but very entertaining.


    7) New Orleans Saints faked a punt in the first quarter of their game with the Chargers Saturday, then went for 2 points after their first TD. Thats what preseason games are for, to try stuff. In two weeks, everyone will get real conservative and we’ll know the regular season is here.


    6) I wouldn’t hate it if the NFL put in a rule that said any kickoff that went thru the uprights would be worth one point, kind of like a rouge in the CFL. Would make kickoffs more exciting.


    5) Pretty big change to basketball recruiting next spring/summer; there will be only two weekends of games (one in April, one in July) where college coaches can go to the games.


    4) Hall of Fame pitcher Bert Blyleven, who made his living with a great curveball, says kids shouldn’t throw a curve until they’re 13 or 14 years old.


    3) Happy 72nd birthday to the great Rollie Fingers, who saved 341 games during his Hall of Fame career. In his five busiest seasons, Fingers AVERAGED five outs an appearance, which means he would come in with one out in the 8th inning and finish the game.


    Anybody doing that these days?


    2) RIP to Senator John McCain, who passed away Saturday after a bout with brain cancer. He had a lot of what we need more of today; character, guts and the knowledge that even though we often disagree on things, we’re all Americans and our opinions need to be tolerated.


    RIP, sir.


    1) This tweet is from Steve Schmidt, who ran Sen McCain’s Presidential campaign in 2008:


    “John McCain belongs to the ages. He perfectly loved this country and served it with valor, courage and integrity for 60 years. He was a patriot and a hero and America will never see a political leader like him again. He was the greatest man I’ve ever known. Godspeed John McCain”
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  4. #154  
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    Sunday, August 26, 2018
    Time (ET) Away Home
    4:00 PM Cincinnati Bengals Buffalo Bills
    8:00 PM Arizona Cardinals Dallas Cowboys




    *******************




    NFL PRESEASON RECORD:


    DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD


    08/25/2018 6-7-1 46.15% -8.50
    08/24/2018 4-8-0 33.33% -24.00
    08/23/2018 2-0-0 100.00% +10.00
    08/20/2018 1-1-0 50.00% -0.50
    08/18/2018 8-5-1 61.53% +12.50
    08/17/2018 3-7-0 30.00% -23.50
    08/16/2018 5-1-0 83.33% +19.50
    08/11/2018 1-3-0 25.00% -11.50
    08/10/2018 2-2-0 50.00% -1.00
    08/09/2018 10-14-0 41.66% -27.00
    08/02/2018 1-1-0 50.00% -0.50


    TOTALS...........43- 49........46.73%.....-54.50
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  5. #155  
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    Sunday's Top Action
    August 24, 2018


    NFL Preseason Week 3 - Cardinals vs Cowboys



    We have talked before about how easy it is to get carried away by the results delivered during preseason football. There are going to be teams who go through their 4 games unbeaten and looking like world beaters only to fall flat on their face once the regular season begins. You are also going to see some of the favorites to win it all this season look absolutely awful in the preseason, with the Philadelphia Eagles a prime example of that right now.


    As we continue with Week 3 of the preseason, we get another look at an Arizona Cardinals team who are rather surprisingly sitting with a 2-0 record. This will be a new look Cardinals team in 2018, with a new head coach and a first-round draft pick QB on the books. They are expected to be a .500 team at best but have looked pretty good in their two games so far.


    Arizona will get another very solid test on Sunday night when they head into the House That Jerry Built for a prime-time game against the Dallas Cowboys.


    Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys
    Sunday, August 26 at 8 PM EST
    AT&T Stadium, Arlington
    NBC, NFL Game Pass, NBCSports.com, fuboTV
    Odds: Arizona Cardinals -2 -110 | -135 | O 40 -110



    Why bet on the Arizona Cardinals


    While the Cardinals made a move to land their potential QB of the future at the NFL draft, they also made the smart move of bringing in a seasoned veteran to bring the young man along in his early years as a pro. Sam Bradford has certainly had some solid moments as a starter in this league, but injuries have always held him back from reaching his full potential.


    Still, he is a good fit for this team, and given what we have seen from him so far, he will do a good job for the Cardinals as they give Josh Rosen room to grow. The young man has shown some promise during preseason, going 16/28 for 148 yards and 1 TD.


    Overall, though, the offense has been poor, sitting down near the bottom of all the stats in both passing and rushing, with the latter being particularly troublesome.

    Why bet on the Dallas Cowboys



    There were quite a few people, myself included, who were surprised to see Jason Garrett survive the slew of coaching cuts that came at the end of last season. 2017 saw the Cowboys take a step backwards after being in the playoffs the previous season, although you do have to take into account that they were without their start running back for portions of the season due to suspension.


    The reality here is that there is probably no way the coach survives another year if the Cowboys do not make the playoffs this season. Their 0-2 start to the preseason may just have made his seat a little hotter, especially with the offense looking less than flattering through those opening 2 losses.


    We should get a look at some of the starters this week, so perhaps things will change for the Cowboys.


    Expert Pick and Game Prediction


    It may only be preseason, but this Dallas team needs a win, and they might just use a home game in prime-time to make it happen. I like the Cowboys to win a close one on Sunday night.

    Dallas Cowboys 21 Arizona Cardinals 17
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  6. #156  
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    Sunday's Tip Sheet
    August 25, 2018
    By Kevin Rogers



    Bengals at Bills (-1.5, 41.5) - 4:00 PM EST


    Cincinnati
    Head Coach: Marvin Lewis (32-31 SU, 33-29-1 ATS in preseason)
    Quarterback Rotation: Andy Dalton, Jeff Driskel, Matt Barkley, Logan Woodside (Rookie)
    Beat Writer Twitter Follow: Katherine Terrell


    Buffalo
    Head Coach: Sean McDermott (2-4 SU, 2-4 ATS in preseason)
    Quarterback Rotation: Josh Allen (Rookie), Nathan Peterman
    Beat Writer Twitter Follow: Joe Buscaglia



    For the first time since 2013, the Bengals have jumped out to a 2-0 start in the preseason. Cincinnati edged Chicago in the exhibition opener at home, 30-27 in a game that closed as a pick-em. Quarterback Andy Dalton tossed three touchdown passes in the first quarter, although only two counted for the Bengals. Dalton connected with running back Joe Mixon on a 24-yard strike and hit wide receiver Tyler Boyd for a three-yard score.


    However, Dalton was picked off by Chicago’s Kyle Fuller in between the two early Cincinnati touchdowns as the Bears’ defensive back returned the interception 47 yards for a score. Chicago rallied back to take a 27-23 fourth quarter lead before backup QB Jeff Driskel hit Auden Tate for a 33-yard connection for the go-ahead touchdown with 2:04 remaining. Driskel finished with 140 yards passing, while Dalton threw for 103 yards in Cincinnati’s second straight preseason opener victory.


    The Bengals overcame a 10-0 halftime deficit in last week’s 21-13 road triumph over the Cowboys as three-point underdogs. Cincinnati punted on all three of Dalton’s drives in the first half before the Bengals turned the ball over twice prior to halftime. Things turned around in the second half as the Bengals scored on each of their first four drives, including touchdowns from Tra Carson and Brian Hill. Cincinnati’s running game never took off as the Bengals rushed for 54 yards on 24 carries, one week after racking up 144 yards on the ground against Chicago.


    The Bills lost their first three preseason games in 2017 before winning the meaningless finale against the Lions, 27-17. Buffalo has picked up a split through its first two exhibition contests in 2018, although it started with a 28-23 home defeat to Carolina in Week 1. All three Buffalo quarterbacks (Nathan Peterman, Josh Allen, and A.J. McCarron) threw for at least 116 yards, while Allen, the rookie from Wyoming, hit Ray-Ray McCloud for a 14-yard touchdown pass to cut the deficit to five in the final 70 seconds.


    In the second preseason game at Cleveland last week, the Bills punted on the first four possessions with McCarron under center. However, Allen tried to make a case for the starting quarterback role as he led Buffalo on a 15-play, 80-yard drive that was capped off with a two-yard touchdown pass to Rod Streater to tie the game at 7-7. Peterman put the Bills ahead for good in the fourth quarter by hitting tight end Nick O’Leary on a 35-yard touchdown strike for the 19-17 win, but the game stayed UNDER the total of 42 .


    Buffalo and Cincinnati are meeting in the preseason for the first time since 2010 when the Bills took care of the Bengals, 35-20 as three-point home underdogs. That game also took place during Week 3 of the preseason, as the Bills own a dreadful 1-5 SU/ATS record in the last six “dress rehearsal” contests, while hitting the UNDER four times in this stretch. Cincinnati has dropped each of its last two Week 3 preseason contests, even though the Bengals led Washington and Jacksonville in the fourth quarter before falling short.


    Cardinals (-2, 40.5) at Cowboys - 8:00 PM EST


    Arizona
    Head Coach: Steve Wilks (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS in preseason)
    Quarterback Rotation: Sam Bradford, Josh Rosen (Rookie), Mike Glennon
    Beat Writer Twitter Follow: Mike Jurecki



    Dallas
    Head Coach: Jason Garrett (12-19 SU, 10-18-3 ATS in preseason)
    Quarterback Rotation: Cooper Rush, Mike White (Rookie)
    Beat Writer Twitter Follow: David Helman



    Arizona is not only starting a new chapter this season as longtime head coach Bruce Arians is off to the television booth and veteran quarterback Carson Palmer announced his retirement. Former Panthers’ defensive coordinator Steve Wilks is the new head coach in the desert, while the quarterback competition is heating up with veteran Sam Bradford and former UCLA standout Josh Rosen vying for the top spot.


    The Cardinals have picked up a pair of preseason victories over the Chargers and Saints through two weeks, while allowing a total of 32 points in those wins. In week 1 against Los Angeles, the Cardinals took advantage of four Chargers’ turnovers and a defensive touchdown to grab a 24-17 triumph as three-point home favorites. Los Angeles outgained Arizona, 387-174, while limiting the Cardinals to 11 first downs. Bradford led Arizona to a touchdown in his only drive, although he threw one pass and the Cardinals ran the ball seven times. In Rosen’s four drives, the Cardinals punted each time even though two possessions ended in Chargers’ territory.


    Arizona’s offense got on track at New Orleans last week by posting two touchdowns and a field goal in the second quarter to grab a 17-3 halftime lead. The Saints made a modest rally, but the Cardinals went into the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and left with a 20-15 triumph as 4 -point underdogs. Arizona’s defense created four New Orleans turnovers, while Bradford was a perfect 6-for-6 for 61 yards and Rosen added 107 yards passing along with a touchdown.


    The Cowboys seek their first preseason victory after falling short against the 49ers and Bengals through two games. Dallas has led at halftime in each contest, but second half meltdowns have sent the Cowboys to an 0-2 start in the preseason for the first time since 2015.


    Jason Garrett’s team stormed out to a 14-0 advantage at San Francisco in the opener, highlighted by a Dak Prescott touchdown pass and a touchdown run by former Alabama tailback Bo Scarbrough. However, the Niners rallied from a 21-10 fourth quarter deficit to score two touchdowns, including the go-ahead score with 18 seconds remaining. Dallas fell to 0-6 in Week 1 preseason games (not including the Hall of Fame game) since 2012 in a 24-21 setback to San Francisco, but the Cowboys cashed as 3 -point underdogs.


    The Cowboys started strong again last week against the Bengals by taking a 10-0 halftime lead. However, Cincinnati outscored Dallas in the second half, 21-3 to top the Cowboys, 21-13 as three-point underdogs, while staying UNDER the total of 41 . Prescott led Dallas’ lone touchdown drive by hitting Terrance Williams from six yards out early in the second quarter. However, running back Ezekiel Elliott did not play, while Scarborough was limited to -2 yards on four carries.


    Prescott will likely sit on Sunday night for Dallas, while Rosen is a game-time decision due to a right thumb injury. The Cowboys have dropped three of their past four “dress rehearsal” contests, with the last loss at home in this situation coming to Minnesota in 2015. Arizona has won two of its past three Week 3 exhibition games, while hitting the OVER twice. Dallas and Arizona hooked up in the Hall of Fame game last season as the Cowboys left Canton with a 20-18 win as 1 -point favorites.
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  7. #157  
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    SUNDAY, AUGUST 26
    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS



    CIN at BUF 04:00 PM
    CIN +1.5
    O 41.5



    ARI at DAL 08:00 PM
    DAL +2.5
    U 39.5
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    Dalton enjoys warm welcome in Bengals' 26-13 win over Bills
    August 26, 2018



    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton doesn't believe he could have scripted a better visit to Buffalo on Sunday.


    The donation he made to Buffalo's Roswell Park Cancer Institute to open the day was special. The two standing ovations he received from Bills fans before the preseason game were chilling.


    And Dalton was able to keep his emotions in check on the first snap from scrimmage to hit John Ross for a 57-yard touchdown pass in leading the Bengals to a 26-13 victory.


    ''It was a good day. I think the way it started was the best part,'' Dalton said. ''The game went well, too.''


    The Bills could not say the same about their offense, and a three-way quarterback competition that remains unsettled.


    Rookie Josh Allen struggled in his first preseason start , while getting little protection from an offensive line that allowed five sacks in the first half alone. He finished 6 of 12 and was sacked for more yards (39) than he had passing (34).


    ''I didn't do a good enough job getting the ball out on time,'' the first-round pick said. ''I've got to do a better job, but there's a lot to learn from.''


    Dalton eased whatever concerns the starters raised with their sputters in last week's 21-13 win at Dallas by producing three scoring drives - two touchdowns and a field goal - over five series against the Bills.


    Dalton finished 11 of 16 for 180 yards and two touchdowns - including a 14-yarder to A.J. Green - to celebrate the warm reception he received in Buffalo nine months after playing a key role in the Bills making the playoffs and ending a 17-year playoff drought.


    It happened in the final minute of the season finale against Baltimore on New Year's Eve. Dalton's 49-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to Tyler Boyd sent the Bengals to a 31-27 win, and eliminated the Ravens from playoff contention.


    Bills fans responded immediately by making over $450,000 to Dalton's charitable foundation.


    ''It's a crazy story, and it's been fun to be on this side of it,'' Dalton said. ''The best part is all the money that was raised.''


    Buffalo's offense continues to raise concerns two weeks before opening the regular season at Baltimore.


    Allen generated just three first downs before being forced out of the game in the final minute of the first half. He was escorted off the field to be evaluated for a possible concussion after being tackled by Carlos Dunlap in the end zone.


    Though Allen was cleared to return, he stayed on the sideline while Nathan Peterman finished the game.


    This was a week after the starters went three-and-out in four series and starter AJ McCarron was sacked once and hit several other times before being sidelined with an injury to his right throwing shoulder in a 19-17 win at Cleveland.


    ''It's disappointing,'' Bills coach Sean McDermott said. ''We're going to make sure we're helping him with protection and catching the football and not beating ourselves with penalties. Let's just start there.''


    SACK ATTACK


    Linebacker Carl Lawson had 2 1/2 of the Bengals five sacks in the first half, and nearly had an interception. He was in position to pick off Allen's underthrown pass up the right sideline only to have tight end Charles Clay break it up.


    PETERMAN TIME


    The Bengals led 23-0 before the Bills mounted a comeback with two scores late in the third quarter.


    Peterman hit Jason Croom for a 17-yard touchdown, and then Travaris Cadet scored on a 1-yard run on a drive set up by Rafael Bush intercepting Bengals backup Matt Barkley's pass. Peterman finished 16 of 21 for 200 yards, and upped his preseason total to 33 of 41 for 432 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.


    WELCOME BACK


    Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert had one catch for 11 yards while targeted three times in making his preseason debut. The Bengals' 2013 first-round draft pick is coming off back surgery and was limited to playing just two games last year.


    INJURIES


    Bengals: Left tackle Cordy Glenn stood on the sideline, but did not return after hurting his right shoulder in the first quarter. Coach Marvin Lewis said Glenn was fine. Guard Christian Westerman (back) and running back Jarveon Williams (left knee) did not return.


    Bills: Backup linebacker Julian Stanford did not return after hurting his nose in the first half. RB LeSean McCoy (hip/groin) and left tackle Dion Dawkins (hip) did not play after being injured in practice this week.


    ANTHEM UPDATE


    The Bengals stood together along the sideline except for Dunlap, who stood on the field at the 45 with his hand on his chest. No member of the Bills appeared to protest.


    UP NEXT

    Bengals: Host Indianapolis Colts on Thursday night.


    Bills: At Chicago Bears on Thursday night.
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    Peterson, Cards take 27-3 preseason win as Cowboys stars sit
    August 26, 2018



    ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Patrick Peterson hasn't faced a starting quarterback in the preseason.


    The three-time All-Pro cornerback for the Arizona Cardinals is getting himself in regular-season form anyway.


    Peterson returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown after Dallas decided to sit quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott in what was supposed to be the dress rehearsal, and the Cardinals rolled to a 27-3 exhibition victory over the Cowboys on Sunday night.


    The Cardinals (3-0) forced eight turnovers to give them 16 takeaways in the preseason. That included two muffed punts by Dallas (0-3), the second recovered for a touchdown by Trent Sherfield to open the scoring in the first quarter.


    Prescott's absence made it three straight weeks that Arizona didn't face the opposing starter. San Diego's Philip Rivers skipped the opener, and Drew Brees sat for New Orleans last week.


    Sam Bradford led two largely ineffective series for the Cardinals after completing all seven of his passes in the first two preseason games. He was 1 of 4 for 6 yards as Arizona generated just one first down.


    Josh Rosen, the 10th overall pick and likely backup to Bradford in the regular season, didn't play after injuring the thumb on his throwing (right) hand in practice last week.


    The Cowboys were missing center Travis Frederick and right guard Zack Martin, part of the reason Prescott didn't play. The other reason was a longer-than-planned touchdown drive of 16 plays on Prescott's final possession of the second preseason game against Cincinnati.


    Owner Jerry Jones said last week he didn't need to see Elliott, the 2016 NFL rushing leader as a rookie, in a preseason game. It figures to be the first time in three seasons that Elliott, who is healthy, will miss the entire preseason since starters are generally expected to sit in the finales.


    EARLY CELEBRATION


    Peterson stepped in front of Cooper Rush's pass to Tavon Austin along the sideline and held the ball in the air most of the way on the easy stroll to the end zone. Rush, who won the backup job as a rookie with a strong preseason last year, was 11 of 17 for 93 yards with two interceptions.


    Peterson also forced a fumble by toppling Rod Smith when the running back tried to hurdle him. Smith was originally ruled down, but replay showed the ball coming out before his arm hit the ground. The Cardinals intercepted three passes and recovered three fumbles, not counting the muffed punts.


    ANOTHER MILESTONE


    Dallas defensive end Randy Gregory had another milestone in his return after missing last season on a substance-abuse suspension. Gregory, who made his preseason debut last week, easily beat starting left tackle D.J. Humphries with a spin move to sack Bradford on Arizona's third offensive play.


    ANOTHER MISSING STAR


    Like Elliott, Arizona running back David Johnson didn't play, likely signaling the end of his preseason at eight carries for 50 yards with a touchdown. Chase Edmonds had 55 yards on 11 carries. T.J. Logan, a fifth-round pick last year before spending the entire season on injured reserve, ran 59 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.


    MOMENT OF SILENCE


    A moment of silence was held before the national anthem for the late Sen. John McCain, with his hometown Cardinals on the sideline. Receiver Larry Fitzgerald looked up to see the image of McCain on the huge video board hanging over the center of the field, and the crowd cheered afterward. McCain died Saturday.

    INJURIES

    Cardinals: RB D.J. Foster, listed third in the depth chart, injured a knee during a touchback on a kickoff and didn't return.


    Cowboys: Already thin at safety, Dallas lost Kavon Frazier to a left shoulder injury in the first quarter. He was starting in place of Xavier Woods, who injured a hamstring last week against Cincinnati.


    NATIONAL ANTHEM


    There were no apparent protests during the pregame playing of ''The Star-Spangled Banner.''


    UP NEXT


    Preseason finales for both teams Thursday night: Cowboys at Houston; Cardinals at home against Denver.
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  10. #160  
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    WEEK 4


    Thursday, August 30, 2018
    Time (ET) Away Home
    7:00 PM Miami Dolphins Atlanta Falcons
    7:00 PM Indianapolis Colts Cincinnati Bengals
    7:00 PM Cleveland Browns Detroit Lions
    7:00 PM New England Patriots New York Giants
    7:00 PM New York Jets Philadelphia Eagles
    7:30 PM Washington Redskins Baltimore Ravens
    7:30 PM Carolina Panthers Pittsburgh Steelers
    7:30 PM Jacksonville Jaguars Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    8:00 PM Buffalo Bills Chicago Bears
    8:00 PM Dallas Cowboys Houston Texans
    8:00 PM Los Angeles Rams New Orleans Saints
    8:00 PM Minnesota Vikings Tennessee Titans
    8:30 PM Green Bay Packers Kansas City Chiefs
    10:00 PM Denver Broncos Arizona Cardinals
    10:00 PM Los Angeles Chargers San Francisco 49ers
    10:00 PM Oakland Raiders Seattle Seahawks




    ***********************




    NFL PRESEASON RECORD:


    DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD


    08/26/2018 2-2-0 50.00% -1.00
    08/25/2018 6-7-1 46.15% -8.50
    08/24/2018 4-8-0 33.33% -24.00
    08/23/2018 2-0-0 100.00% +10.00
    08/20/2018 1-1-0 50.00% -0.50
    08/18/2018 8-5-1 61.53% +12.50
    08/17/2018 3-7-0 30.00% -23.50
    08/16/2018 5-1-0 83.33% +19.50
    08/11/2018 1-3-0 25.00% -11.50
    08/10/2018 2-2-0 50.00% -1.00
    08/09/2018 10-14-0 41.66% -27.00
    08/02/2018 1-1-0 50.00% -0.50


    TOTALS...........45- 51........46.87%.....-53.50
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  11. #161  
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    Tuesday’s six-pack

    From Warren Buffett; the smartest people he knows:

    1) Don’t get easily offended

    2) Read more than they talk

    3) Enjoy intelligent discourse

    4) Quickly admit when they’re wrong

    5) Comfortable changing their opinion

    6) Surround themselves w/ intelligence

    7) Seek to understand every perspective on a topic

    Quote of the Day
    “Any time you lose a coach, it’s tough. But for me, that’s why you hire great assistant coaches, guys you know can become coordinators or position coaches. … First-time coordinator, coordinating the coaches, divvying up scripts, who’s doing this, who’s doing that, the job responsibilities, all that’s new. But listen, that’s why I here. I’m still the one calling the plays, I’m still a big part of the game planning, and we’re still doing it as a collaborative effort……”
    Doug Pederson

    Tuesday’s quiz
    In the last 70 years, which active major league pitcher has the most strikeouts in his first 200 starts?

    Monday’s quiz
    Buck Showalter has managed four teams: Arizona, New York, Texas, Baltimore.

    Sunday’s quiz
    Milwaukee Brewers were the Seattle Pilots in 1969, their first year of existence; they moved to Milwaukee and became the Brewers the next season.


    *********************


    Tuesday’s List of 13: Nobody asked me, but……

    13) Darius Bazely was a top-10 basketball prospect in the 2018 high school class, but he decided to skip college and play in the G-League; now he has decided not to play in the G-League either and will use the year to train and prepare himself to be a pro. How?

    I’m not sure who is advising this young man; disappearing for a year and not competing at all isn’t going to help him. Apparently “his group” as he calls it, isn’t happy because Bazely would be subject to the G-League draft and couldn’t choose where he wanted to play this season.

    12) Why don’t the Philadelphia 76ers have a GM yet?

    11) Manu Ginobili retired; he played 16 years in the NBA, all for the Spurs, scoring 14,043 points and winning four NBA titles. One of the NBA’s best-ever international players.

    10) New Jersey Giants signed Odell Beckham to a 5-year, $90M contract; $41M of it is guaranteed, $65M of it guaranteed for injury.

    9) South Carolina Gamecocks are fully replacing their football field less than a week before the season opener after hosting a Jay-Z/Beyonce concert last week.

    Crews trucked in sod from Sugar Hill, GA after the old field had to be removed following the concert last week.

    Carolina is home the next three Saturdays, against Coastal Carolina, then Georgia, Marshall.

    8) Not only is true freshman JT Daniels the starting QB at USC, he is a kid who graduated high school a year early, so he is REALLY young. Daniels, the 2017 Gatorade National High School Player of the Year, went Mater Dei High School in LA.

    But, in this age of “If I ain’t startin’, then I’ll be departin’”, they worked their butts off to recruit Daniels, and they want to keep him a Trojan. Plus, the three candidates Daniels beat out for the starting job are also all freshmen or sophomores- how many of them will transfer?

    7) Rice 31, Prairie View 28— Huge sigh of relief from Houston after the Owls rallied from a 28-19 4th-quarter deficit to escape the horror of losing to a I-AA team.

    6) Everyone seems to like Players’ Weekend in baseball; didn’t hear one bad word about it, other than sometimes the nicknames on the jerseys don’t always help identify who I’m watching.

    I wouldn’t mind if MLB let the players wear whatever shoes they want, whenever.

    Washington’s Adam Eaton had four hits Sunday using a red bat that was very colorful, he was told he couldn’t use it Monday, because Players’ Weekend was over. Oy.

    5) Serious question: Do rookie head coaches in the NFL try harder in preseason games than experienced coaches? They have to get into the routine of what happens during a game, so maybe they gameplan more than guys who are just trying to pare their roster down and get ready for Opening Day.

    I’m going to have to research that one for next summer.

    4) Miami Marlins are averaging 10,054 fans per game, less than half what they said they averaged last year; rumor has it last year’s numbers were exaggerated to help sell the team.

    Toronto’s attendance is down 10,442 fans per game; Detroit, Kansas City are both down over 6,000 fans a game. When your team has zero chance to make the playoffs, people don’t go to the games.

    3) Atlanta Braves just finished stretch of 22 games in 20 days with a 13-9 record; teams are not allowed to play more than 20 days in a row- thats in the collective bargaining agreement.

    2) The hurricane relief fund JJ Watt started in Houston last year wound up raising $41.6M; all of that money has been given out. Good for him.

    1) I’m guessing this is a good time financially for people who sell metal detectors; with all the public shootings, metal detectors are going to be everywhere pretty soon.
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  12. #162  
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    Preseason Report Card
    August 27, 2018



    Historically speaking, Week 3 of the NFL preseason is usually when we get a better idea of what we can expect from all 32 teams heading into the new season. It is usually that week when we get a longer look at the starting line-ups on both offense and defense, and while we are certainly not seeing the entire playbook, we get enough of a look to see whether a team should be optimistic or concerned about what lies ahead. With that in mind, we are going to look at some teams who should be optimistic, as well as a couple who have some genuine cause for concern.


    Teams that should be optimistic


    Cleveland Browns

    It’s tough to be optimistic about a team that has been so bad for so very long, but this version of the Cleveland Browns has looked very good in the preseason. They have what looks to be two very good QB’s on the roster, with Tyrod Taylor and rookie Baker Mayfield impressing in their on-field opportunities this preseason. The Browns have looked defensively sound through their 3 games, and they will need to be in Week 1 when they face the powerhouse Steelers offense as a 5 -point underdog.


    Baltimore Ravens
    Picking a pair of teams from the AFC North could well mean that we have a battle in that division this season. Lamar Jackson has improved steadily with each passing game and may get some playing time in the regular season if Joe Flacco has another off year. The decision on whether to keep RGIII will likely come after he sees even more playing time in Week 4. Griffin has been solid in the preseason and will likely land somewhere if the Ravens do cut him. The Ravens have a very winnable Week 1 game against the Bills as a 6 -point favorite.


    Carolina Panthers
    Unbeaten in the preseason, the Panthers have looked very solid all around, especially when Cam Newton was on the field. He played at a high level during the 3 wins, which is all the more impressive when you consider that he was being protected by a beat-up O-line. This team is going to challenge for the NFC South once again and will open the season as a 3-point favorite over the Dallas Cowboys.


    Teams that have cause for concern


    Atlanta Falcons

    We have all been raving about the explosive potential of the Falcons offense, but it has been nowhere to be found in the preseason. The Falcons couldn’t even muster 100 yards of offense in the first half during a Week 3 loss to the Jaguars, while the defense was exposed time and again by Jacksonville. The NFC South is a tough division, meaning genuine concern for the Falcons heading into the season. They open against the Eagles, a team that could also make this list.

    Kansas City Chiefs

    Rookie QB Patrick Mahomes has started to look more comfortable with each passing snap, but it is not his play that puts the Chiefs on this list. Their defense has ben nothing short of brutal, with the starting unit giving up TD drives to back-up QB’s in each of their 3 preseason games. Being in a position where your young QB is asked to get into shootouts every week is asking for trouble.
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    Handicapping Bears (6.5)
    August 27, 2018



    Optimism is high in Chicago, as the Bears have a new head coach in Matt Nagy and new offensive weapons surrounding second-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky. The Bears could flirt with a winning record this season and if everything comes together they could challenge for a playoff spot. Oddsmakers set the win total for the Bears at 6.5.


    Let’s look at the Chicago schedule for 2018 to see if they will go over or under that number.


    2018 Chicago Bears Regular Season Win Total
    Over 6.5 (-141)
    Under 6.5 (+120)



    2018 Chicago Bears Schedule Analysis


    Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 9, at Green Bay Packers

    The Bears are going to be improved this season but going into Lambeau and winning the season opener against Rodgers seems unlikely. Green Bay is an 8-point home favorite at BetDSI.

    Week 2: Monday, Sept. 17, vs. Seattle Seahawks

    The Bears get the Monday Night Football spotlight and this is a winnable game against a Seattle team that is nowhere near as good as they have been in past seasons.

    Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 23, at Arizona Cardinals

    There is a good chance of a letdown for the Bears coming off their Monday night game and the Cardinals could be a lot better than people expect.

    Week 4: Sunday, Sept. 30, vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    The Bears are a better team than the Bucs, but Chicago will have to be careful, as the Bucs get Jameis Winston back from suspension for this game. Chicago should still be able to win a high scoring contest.


    Week 5: Bye


    Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 14, at Miami Dolphins

    The Dolphins should be better this season with a healthy Ryan Tannehill, but this is still a game the Bears can win.


    Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 21, vs. New England Patriots
    The Bears will be home underdogs in this one, but Chicago is improved and they have the offense to challenge the Patriots.


    Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 28, vs. New York Jets
    The Bears should not have any trouble in this one against a New York team that could be one of the worst in the NFL.


    Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 4, at Buffalo Bills
    The Bears will have to avoid looking past the Bills in this one, as this game will be on the road in a tough environment.


    Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 11, vs. Detroit Lions
    This is a good three-week stretch for Chicago with three games they should win, including this one at home against the Lions.


    Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 18, vs. Minnesota Vikings
    We will find out just how good the Bears are in this game, as the Vikings have a tough defense and a potent offense.


    Week 12: Thursday, Nov. 22, at Detroit Lions
    The Bears just don’t seem to do well in Detroit and this game will be on Thanksgiving and that means the Lions should win.


    Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 2, at New York Giants
    The Giants are going to be improved this season, so this will not be an easy road test for the Bears even though they will be playing with extra rest.


    Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 9, vs. Los Angeles Rams
    The Rams have a tough defense that should be able to contain Trubisky and the Chicago offense.


    Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 16, vs. Green Bay Packers
    The Bears have struggled at home against the Packers recently, as their last win at Soldier Field against Green Bay came in 2010.


    Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 23, at San Francisco 49ers
    The late season schedule for the Bears is very difficult, as they have to go on the road to visit the 49ers in between games against the Packers and Vikings.


    Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 30, at Minnesota Vikings
    The Bears have never won at U.S. Bank Stadium and that probably won’t change this season.


    2018 Chicago Bears Regular Season Win Total Prediction

    The Bears should be improved this season and it is possible they will make a playoff push. The late season schedule is the problem, so Chicago needs to bank a lot of early season wins. They should be able to win at least six games before December, so if they can win one of their last five games they will get to seven wins and go over their win total of 6.5.
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  14. #164  
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    Handicapping Cardinals (5.5)
    August 27, 2018



    The Arizona Cardinals have a new head coach in Steve Wilks, a new quarterback in Sam Bradford and a healthy David Johnson. Oddsmakers are not sold that the Cardinals are going to be improved this season, as they set the win total for Arizona at just 5.5 games. The Cardinals went 8-8 last season without Johnson, so perhaps that number is too low.


    Let’s look at the Arizona schedule to see if they will go over or under 5.5 wins.


    2018 Arizona CardinalsSeason Win Total
    Over 5.5 (-110)
    Under 5.5 (-120)



    2018 Arizona Cardinals Schedule Analysis


    Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 9, vs. Washington Redskins



    The season opener is a toss-up, as both teams have new starting quarterback this season. The Cardinals should have the edge because this one is at home, but it could go either way. BetDSI has this game listed as a pick.


    Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 16, at Los Angeles Rams


    The Cardinals will get a good test of where they are in Week 2, as they visit a Los Angeles team with a stout defense and a potent offense. This looks like a road loss.


    Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 23, vs. Chicago Bears


    The Bears are going to be much better this season, but Arizona is at home and if Bradford is still healthy, this is a game they should win.


    Week 4: Sunday, Sept. 30, vs. Seattle Seahawks


    The Seahawks are not as good as in past seasons, so this is a game that Arizona can win at home.


    Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 7, at San Francisco 49ers


    The 49ers have a potent offense led by Jimmy Garoppolo, but they still have some issues on defense. This could turn into a shootout.


    Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 14, at Minnesota Vikings


    The Cardinals figure to struggle in this one against a Minnesota team that has an excellent defense and a solid home field advantage.

    Week 7: Thursday, Oct. 18, vs. Denver Broncos



    The Broncos are going to be better this season, but Arizona gets the benefit of playing at home with both teams coming off short rest.


    Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 28, vs. San Francisco 49ers


    The Cardinals will have extra time to prepare for this one, but will it help? The Arizona defense looks poor, so the Cardinals will need to score a lot of points to win this one.


    Week 9: Bye


    Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 11, at Kansas City Chiefs



    The Cardinals come out of their bye and face the Chiefs at Arrowhead. The Chiefs are very capable of overlooking the Cardinals and this game could be tight.


    Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 18, vs. Oakland Raiders


    The Raiders will have a lot of fans in the stands for this one, so it will not be a huge home crowd edge for Arizona. This looks like another shootout that could go either way.


    Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 25, at Los Angeles Chargers


    The Cardinals may be able to reverse the situation in this game, as their fans can travel to Los Angeles for a game against a Chargers team that doesn’t have much of a fan base in L.A.


    Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 2, at Green Bay Packers


    The Cardinals have to go on the road and face Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau in December. This looks like a road defeat.


    Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 9, vs. Detroit Lions


    The Cardinals are good enough to beat Detroit, so this one will be all about which team executes under their new head coach.

    Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 16, at Atlanta Falcons



    The Cardinals simply don’t win in Atlanta, as they are 0-6 in Atlanta since 2004. The Falcons are not a great team, but they figure to win this one.


    Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 23, vs. Los Angeles Rams


    The Cardinals will probably be in the position of playing spoiler for this home game against the Rams.


    Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 30, at Seattle Seahawks

    There is a good chance that both of these teams will be out of playoff contention when this game gets underway. This is a coin flip.


    2018 Arizona Cardinals Regular Season Win Total Prediction


    The schedule for Arizona is not easy for 2018, but their win total is just 5.5 games. If Bradford and Johnson stay healthy, and that is a big if, the Cardinals should win at least six games and go over their win total this season.
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    Handicapping Bengals (6.5)
    August 29, 2018
    By BetDSI



    The Cincinnati Bengals have missed the playoffs in the last two seasons, but head coach Marvin Lewis still has his job. The Bengals could be a candidate to bounce back this season, as they have talent on both sides of the ball and their schedule is favorable. Oddsmakers set the win total for the Bengals at just 6.5 and bettors have been taking the over. Let’s look at the Bengals schedule to see if they will go over or under that total.


    2018 Cincinnati Bengals Season Win Total
    6.5 (over -185)
    6.5 (under +145)



    2018 Cincinnati Bengals Schedule Analysis


    Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 9, at Indianapolis Colts



    The Colts do have Andrew Luck back at quarterback, but he is not yet 100% and this is a winnable game for the Bengals, even on the road. The Colts are listed as a 3-point home favorite at BetDSI.


    Week 2: Thursday, Sept. 13, vs. Baltimore Ravens


    This is a game on short rest for the Bengals, but it is at home and the Bengals were much better against the Ravens with Bill Lazor as offensive coordinator in their second meeting last season.


    Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 23, at Carolina Panthers


    The Panthers were very good at home last season, but Carolina is still hard to trust and the Bengals are capable of making this close.


    Week 4: Sunday, Sept. 30, at Atlanta Falcons


    The Bengals have to play back-to-back road games against two quality teams from the NFC South. If Cincinnati is to be a playoff contender they need to find a way to win one of them.


    Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 7, vs. Miami Dolphins


    The Bengals will be home favorites in this contest, but Miami does have Ryan Tannehill back this season, so this may not easy.


    Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 14, vs. Pittsburgh Steelers


    The Bengals have had all kinds of trouble against the Steelers of late, as they have not beaten Pittsburgh since 2015.


    Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 21, at Kansas City Chiefs


    This is not a good spot for the Bengals going into Arrowhead coming off a game against the Steelers. The Bengals are oftentimes out of gas following the game against Pittsburgh. Last year they lost to a bad Bears team following a game against the Steelers.


    Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 28, vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers


    The Bengals do get a break in Week 8 as they face a Buccaneers team that doesn’t look like a playoff contender.


    Week 9: Bye


    Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 11, vs. New Orleans Saints



    The Bengals will be coming off their bye, but the Saints are a very good team that is considered a contender to win the NFC.


    Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 18, at Baltimore Ravens


    The Bengals have split their games against the Ravens the last two seasons. Neither team has a huge home field advantage so this is a winnable road game for Cincinnati.

    Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 25, vs. Cleveland Browns



    The Browns are going to be better, but the Bengals are at home and they should get this home win.

    Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 2, vs. Denver Broncos



    The Broncos are another team that should be improved, but Denver is normally much weaker away from Mile High, so this is another winnable game for Cincinnati.


    Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 9, at Los Angeles Chargers


    The Bengals have not gone to the West Coast since 2015, but surprisingly, they have done well there, winning the last five in the Pacific Time Zone. The Chargers don’t have much a home field advantage, so Cincinnati might be able to pull off the upset.


    Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 16, vs. Oakland Raiders


    The Raiders tend to struggle going to the East and this could be a cold weather game which will favor the Bengals.


    Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 23, at Cleveland Browns


    The Bengals went into this season having not lost to the Browns since 2014. Will this be the season the streak ends?


    Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 30, at Pittsburgh Steelers


    The regular season finale won’t be easy, as the Steelers have lost just twice in their last 12 home games in the month of December.


    2018 Cincinnati Bengals Win Total Prediction


    Bettors believe the win total on the Bengals is too low at 6.5 and based on the schedule they could be right. The Bengals have a favorable schedule that should give them a good chance to win at least eight games, so we’ll go over the total with Cincinnati this season.
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    2018 AFC Preview
    August 28, 2018
    By Marc Lawrence



    2018 AFC East preview


    Buffalo


    TEAM THEME:
    IN ALLEN WE TRUST


    After earning their first playoff berth in 16 years last season, Buffalo was obviously not satisfied. Not with QB Tyrod Taylor and not with an offense that generated a mere 300 YPG, better than only three other teams. Thus, it became their priority to land a potential franchise quarterback in this year’s NFL draft. After all, they had drafted 6 QBs since Jim Kelly, and none of the previous six had a winning record. So when they traded up to select Josh Allen with the 7th pick in the first round, they felt they finally had their man. This despite the fact that Allen completed only 54% of his passes in high school, and then 56% of his passes in college football before leaving early for the NFL. The strong-armed hopeful will likely take a seat to learn his trade behind recently acquired A.J. McCarron, who has played in a total 12 NFL games in his career, going 2-2 in his four starts. A strong draft also yielded LB Tremaine Edmunds, DT Harrison Phillips and CB Taron Johnson, while free agent acquisitions CB Vontae Davis, DE Trent Murphy and DT Star Lotuleli figure to shore up a soft stop-unit.


    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Buffalo is 2-11 SU and 2-8-3 ATS away all-time versus NFC Central foes, including 0-7 SU and 0-6-1 ATS when coming off an ATS win.


    PLAY ON: vs. New England (10/29)




    Miami


    TEAM THEME:
    ROTTEN FISH


    The foul odor blowing in from the shores of south Florida is the smell of bringing up the rear going on in Miami these days. From the Dolphins to the Heat to the Marlins, the stench of losing is stomach-turning. The Dolphins have made only one postseason appearance since 2008, that in Adam Gase’s first season with the team two years ago. It was back to 6-10 last season when starting QB Ryan Tannehill went down with a second ACL injury. After Hurricane Irma forced postponement of their season opener, the Fish opened the season 4-2 before being filleted with a 5-game losing streak. You can say playing 16 games without a bye week did them in but the fact of the matter is they were dead in the water long before the re-scheduling took place. The bottom line is Gase and Tannehill each own a losing record, with the latter owing an 86.5 career passer rating. Unloading their top talent (Ndamukong Suh, Jarvis Landry and Mike Pouncey) signals a new era is underway. Here’s hoping the menu is palatable.


    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Dolphins have incurred the 2nd-most penalties in the league during each of Gase’s first two seasons with the team.


    PLAY ON: vs. Buffalo (12/2) - *KEY




    New England


    TEAM THEME:
    SUPER AMBIANCE


    Question: Is there such thing as a Super Bowl curse? Ask Tom Brady the same question and his reply would be, “You’d better believe there is.” That was confirmed last season when for the first time in his 17-year NFL career Brady started and ended the season with a loss. On top of that, Brady WAS 16-0 SU and 9-6-1 ATS in NFL playoff games in his career against teams that the Patriots did not face during the regular season – until they met Philadelphia in last year’s Super Bowl. And to make matters worse, NFL teams WERE 38-0-1 SU in games when they gained 600-plus yards until the Pats met the Eagles in SB LII in February. With all of that bad karma in the rear view mirror, according to our NFL Strength of Schedule based on opponent’s projected season win totals, the Pats (along with Houston) will take on the cushiest schedule in the circuit this season. Go figure. Meanwhile, the return of WR Julian Edelman from the IR should help steer them back to the playoffs this season provided, of course, the dreaded Super Bowl Curse fails to raise its ugly head.


    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: New England’s average defensive start of possession each of the last two years has been inside the 25-yard line – the best in the NFL.


    PLAY ON: vs. Kansas City (10/14)




    New York Jets


    TEAM THEME:
    OUR LORD & SAVIOR


    When USC quarterback Sam Darnold (20-4 with the Trojans) fell into their lap with the 3rd pick in the first round of this year’s NFL draft, Jets fans quickly said three Hail Mary’s, sensing the bleeding was over. According to USA TODAY SPORTS WEEKLY, 20-year old Darnold becomes their highest drafted quarterback since Joe Namath. Rest assured, he will be given every opportunity to show he’s ready to start. Suddenly, with Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater (trade bait?) looking over his shoulder, the Flyboys QB position has gone from spotty to hottie. Still, the Jets have enjoyed just one winning season the last 7 years, meaning there are plenty of holes to fill. A fast start against a soft slate will go a long way in mending a lot of broken hearts. A sidebar note in closing: when the fast planes travel to Chicago to meet the Bears on October 28, New York head coach Todd Bowles played for the state football championship in New Jersey in 1980. His coach was Bill Nagy, the father of then 2-year old Matt – Chicago’s new rookie head coach.


    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Jets are 22-4-1 ATS as division dogs against foes coming off a SUATS division win.


    PLAY ON: as a dog vs. Minnesota (10/21)




    2018 AFC North preview


    Baltimore


    TEAM THEME:
    ACTION JACKSON


    The big news on draft day was Baltimore trading up to secure Louisville QB Lamar Jackson with the final pick in the first round. With the former Heisman Trophy winner waiting in the wings, the heat is suddenly on Joe Flacco, the longtime ago former Super Bowl MVP. Since winning the league’s crowning achievement in Super Bowl XLVII, Flacco has been a bust – pure and simple. He hasn’t posted a passer rating over 83.5 or tossed for more than 20 TDs since 2014. You have to go back to December of 2016 to find the last time he threw for 300 yards. The feeling here is Jackson will prove to be Ozzie Newsome’s best draft acquisition since landing both Ray Lewis and Jonathan Ogden in the first round of the 1996 draft. And speaking of plum draft picks, veteran outside LB Terrell Suggs (a first-round pick in 2003) is ecstatic with new DC Don “Wink” Martindale moving up from LB coach to defensive coordinator. “He’s taking the handcuffs off the guys,” Suggs said. That’s good news for a team that led the league in Takeaway, Giveaways (+17) last season.


    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Baltimore is 13-3 SUATS following its bye week since 2002, including 7-1 SUATS when coming off a home game.


    PLAY ON: at Pittsburgh (9/30)




    Cincinnati


    TEAM THEME:
    THE TIMES ARE A-CHANGING


    It’s never a good thing when your team owns the worst offense in the league, one that generated a mere 280.5 YPG last season, or 28 YPG worse than winless Cleveland. Now on the heels of consecutive losing seasons, it’s safe to say head coach Marvin Lewis is sitting on the hottest seat in the league. It’s also fork-in-the-road time for QB Andy Dalton, whose numbers have regressed across the board each of the last two seasons as well. It’s what happens when you’re sacked 80 times over the course of two years. As a result, Lewis made major changes (5) to the coaching staff. With it Cincinnati will be changing its offensive and defensive schemes for the first time in over seven years. To better protect Dalton, the Bengals acquired LT Gordy Glenn in a trade and drafted C Billy Price, a first-round pick from Ohio State. Still, talented players dot the roster... such as WR A.J. Green, RB Joe Mixon, TE Tyler Eifert, LB Vontez Burfict, etc. Remember: the last time the Bengals endured consecutive losing seasons, they bounced back to go 10-6. Stay tuned.


    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Bengals own the NFL’s longest winless drought in the playoffs: 27 years.


    PLAY ON: as a dog vs. Pittsburgh (10/14)




    Cleveland


    TEAM THEME:
    BANG THE DRUM... SLOWLY


    So what does a team do with an embattled coach that has forgotten how to win games, other than bang its head against the wall? For openers, it stockpiles draft picks, reluctantly of course. With it the Browns have secured a total of 45 selections over the course of the last four NFL drafts, including 8 No. 1 picks. But through it all, they’ve become the 5th team in NFL annals to go winless in a season, and only the second to go 0-16. Heck, even the alphabet has more W’s than the Browns. The good news is there is only one place to go for this once-proud franchise. Celebrated QB Baker Mayfield will likely lead the revival, but not before learning the ropes from recently acquired Tyrod Taylor – who fits Cleveland’s M.O. to a tee with his 7-1 SU and 7-0-1 ATS career mark in games when his team is coming off consecutive losses. In addition, new OC Todd Haley and QB coach Ken Zampese figure to open up an offense that has failed to score 30 points in a contest 43 straight games (going 2-41 in the process) with newly acquired impressive targets and talent in the backfield.


    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Browns are 0-30 SU and 7-23 ATS on Sundays with Hue Jackson.

    PLAY AGAINST:
    at New Orleans (9/16)




    Pittsburgh


    TEAM THEME:
    FLY ME TO THE MOON - AND BACK


    Uh oh. In a three-year span from 2014 to 2017 – with 2015 being the only exception - the Steelers traveled the fewest miles of any team. For all of last year, Pittsburgh traveled only 6800 miles. In 2016, that number dropped to 5100. This year, however, that number climbs to over 13,000 miles. It’s similar to 2015 when they went 4-4 on the road that season. And what conclusion can we draw? It’s the only time since 2014 the Steelers haven’t had a winning record away from Heinz Field (5-3 in 2014 and 2016, 7-1 last year). So maybe travel had a little something to do with that. Nonetheless, you can bank on the fact that Mike Tomlin’s troops will have their visit to Jacksonville circled in red ink this season. The 45 points they allowed in a playoff home loss was the most they ever coughed up at home in the postseason. Meanwhile, we love the Oklahoma State tandem – QB Mason Rudolph and WR James Washington –joining the Steelers from this year’s draft. They look to be the heart of the team in the near future.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE:
    Teams who upset the Steelers are 1-17 ATS away when coming off consecutive SUATS wins.


    PLAY ON: at Jacksonville (11/18)




    2018 AFC South preview


    Houston


    TEAM THEME:
    DR. DR. GIVE ME THE NEWS


    According to our NFL Strength of Schedule based on opponents’ projected season win totals, the Texans (along with New England) will tackle the softest schedule in the circuit this season. That’s good news for a team whose defense ranked last in scoring last season. Quarterback DeShaun Watson, the former College Football Playoff champion, is back from a season-ending knee injury last year. In Watson’s six starts before bowing out with the injury, he managed to toss 19 TDs with 8 INTs while beating the spread in five of those contests. More importantly, Houston went 1-11 without him (read: Tom Savage). The good news is Savage is gone. Another piece to the puzzle will be the return to health of defensive end J.J. Watt, the NFL’s highest-paid and arguably most dominant defenseman in the league who has played in only 8 games the past two seasons. Helping on defense will be S Tyrann Mathieu, who comes to Houston after an injury-plagued campaign at Arizona last season. So you can see the Texans will go as far in 2018 as their health allows, while perhaps even going from last to first in the NFC South.


    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Houston is 10-0 SU and 9-1 ATS as a favorite against foes off a loss of more than 4 points under O’Brien.


    PLAY ON: at Jacksonville (10/21)




    Indianapolis


    TEAM THEME:
    3RD REICH


    When the Colts hired Frank Reich as its new head coach, he was actually the 6th choice on their coaching list. Reich brings questionable play-calling skills: while he was Philadelphia’s OC last season, head coach Doug Pederson called the plays. Interestingly, Reich was a backup QB to Boomer Esiason at Maryland as well as a backup QB to Jim Kelly at Buffalo in his playing career. His claim to fame was leading the Terrapins to the greatest comeback in CFB history when he defeated Miami Florida, 42-40, after trailing 31-0, as well as bringing the Bills back from a 35-3 deficit in a 41-39 playoff win over Houston. The fact of the matter, though, is the Colts will go as far as Andrew Luck’s health permits. Note: with Luck in the lineup, Indianapolis is 46-30 (.605), with three playoff appearances. Without him they are 10-16 (.385). Meanwhile, the psyche of the Colts is likely fragile at best as they suffered 5 losses after blowing double-digit leads last season. After striking gold with a league-high 11 picks in this year’s draft, including new bodyguards for Luck in OGs Quenton Nelson and Braden Smith, the transformation begins.


    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Colts are 22-6 ATS in games following a loss with Luck, including 12-0 SUATS when coming off a loss of 14 or more points.


    PLAY ON: vs. Tennessee (11/18)




    Jacksonville


    TEAM THEME:
    TIME TO DRINK THE KOOL-AID?


    It’s strange how one good season can cast a whole new light on a struggling situation. After enjoying its first winning campaign in 10 seasons last year, the Jaguars promptly extended QB Blake Bortles’ contract for an additional three years and $54 million... for a quarterback that is 21-40 in the NFL and ranked 20th in the league with an 84.7 passer rating last season. Talk about financial irresponsibility. It’s what happens to quarterbacks that go 4-1 against Super Bowl winning quarterbacks in a given season. Paving the way, rookie RB Leonard Fournette made his presence known in the backfield when he rushed for 1,040 yards and nine TDs in only 13 games as Jacksonville led the league in rushing with 141 YPG. Best of all, its 286 YPG defense for the regular season ranked No. 2 overall. So, yes, there were a lot of positives working for the Jags last season as the culmination of cleaning up in the past few drafts came to fruition in 2017. The question begs, however, what can they do for an encore this year? Drink it up Jags fans... while you can.


    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Other than home, Wembley in London is the only stadium in which Jacksonville has won more than one consecutive game.


    PLAY AGAINST: at Buffalo (11/25)




    Tennessee


    TEAM THEME:
    TITAN UP


    After tossing more INTs than TD passes last season, QB Marcus Mariota enters his fourth season with the Titans with more losses than wins. On a positive note, Tennessee won its first playoff game last season since 2009. With Mariota’s big payday coming next offseason, this becomes his critical time to stand-and-deliver. And minus their first ever trip to London, the Titans have one of the more favorable road schedules in 2018. The farthest west they have to travel during the regular or preseason is their Week 9 matchup vs. the Cowboys on Monday Night Football. With new head coach Mike Vrabel determined to tailor his spread offense around Mariota, he could put up numbers last seen at his days with Oregon. The good news is that last year’s first-round pick WR Corey Davis (the No. 5 selection in the draft) is healthy and was playing extremely well down the stretch last year. Former Baltimore Ravens DC Dean Pees retired at the end of last season, and then came out of retirement to run the Titans defense in 2018. It all points to a potentially big season by these Nashville cats.


    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Titans are 6-1 SU and 7-0 ATS all-time versus .500 or greater NFC East foes coming off a win.


    PLAY AGAINST: at Jacksonville (9/23)




    2018 AFC West preview


    Denver


    TEAM THEME:
    OPERATION REBOUND


    Yes, it’s confirmed. Denver is a certified ‘mission team’ in 2018 as the Broncos suffered their first losing season in seven years – despite the fact that their overall stats actually improved on both sides of the ball. Rather than canning first-year head coach Vance Joseph, John Elway opted instead to tweak the coaching staff and add missing pieces. With it the offense welcomes QB Case Keenum, who came “this-close” to making the Super Bowl last season. And with that, remember this: Keenum is 16-6-3 ATS in his NFL career when not favored by more than 2 points. He’s also 22-12 SU in his last 34 starts. The biggest negative last year occurred in the turnover department where only the winless Cleveland Browns were worse as Denver ended the season -17 in TOs, or more than minus-two net per game. Meanwhile, Denver drooled when Cleveland passed over DE Bradley Chubb with the 4th pick in the first round of the draft. Chubb will pair with all-world LB Von Miller to cement a fierce rush defense that has surrendered less than 90 rushing yards per game three of the last four seasons.


    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Broncos are 18-2 SU and 13-5-2 ATS the first four games of the season the last five years.


    PLAY ON: vs. Kansas City (10/1) - *KEY as a dog




    Kansas City


    TEAM THEME:
    TURNING OVER A NEW LEAF


    Let’s cut right to the chase. The secret formula to Andy Reid’s success has been simple. Looking back over the last three seasons, Kansas City finished #2 in net turnovers in 2017, #1 in 2016, and #2 in 2015. It’s a major part of the reason Reid’s Chiefs have won 54 games during his five-year tenure – despite being out-gained -61 YPG in the process. After recently losing offensive coordinators Doug Pederson to the Eagles and Matt Nagy to the Bears, the two-time defending AFC West champs Kansas City offense will take on another new look behind QB Patrick Mahomes, and yet another new OC in Eric Bieniemy. Given the fact that Bieniemy has been coaching running backs since 2013, one might think the offense would have a more run-heavy look. Not true. In Bienemy’s two seasons as an OC at Colorado, the Bufflaoes ran a 50/50 mix of rushing and passing plays. If he can find a similar mix for the Chiefs it will greatly benefit Mahomes. With talented WRs aboard in Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins, along with TE Travis Kelce and RB Kareem Hunt, Mahomes will have plenty of targets – and no excuses.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE:
    Mahomes is the first quarterback drafted by the Chiefs to win a game in the NFL since 1983.

    PLAY AGAINST:
    at L.A. Chargers (9/9)




    Los Angeles Chargers


    TEAM THEME:
    ROAD WARRIORS


    Oh so close. Had the Chargers not lost out on making the playoffs by a tiebreaker last season, they would have been only the second team in NFL history to make the postseason after a 0-4 start since... the 1992 San Diego Chargers (that sounds so much better). Making matters worse, five of their seven losses were by 8 or fewer points. And when the dust settled, the worst part is that the offensive line allowed only 18 sacks in 2017 – the fewest in QB Philip Rivers’ career. In the end, it was a porous rush defense (No. 31 in the league) that was the major culprit. “Missing out on that playoff tiebreaker left a sour taste in everyone’s mouth,” said first-year head coach Anthony Lynn. Another bitter taste will be the fact that the Chargers travel over 28,000 miles this season – including a home game in London against Miami – the third-most in the league. Which leads to an interesting dilemma: the Chargers will go 6 weeks between home games from early October to mid-November. Between that and every east coast game at 1:00 PM ET, the schedule maker did Los Angeles no favors in 2018.


    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: QB Philip Rivers’ 201 straight starts leads all active players in the NFL.


    PLAY ON: vs. Tennessee (10/21)




    Oakland


    TEAM THEME:
    GRUDEN 2.0


    When Mark Davis waved $100 million under Jon Gruden’s nose, the NFL witnessed the most celebrated coaching hire in the NFL since the Ol’ Ball Coach Steve Spurrier left the comfy confines of Florida’s finest country clubs for the Washington Redskins, where he quickly became the Clueless Ball Coach. Looking back in the rear view mirror, many forget that Tampa Bay was only 45-51 in its last 96 games under Gruden. Worse, the Raiders have gone 94-166 since he left. Only Cleveland’s 76-180 mark is worse. ‘Chucky’ has put his stamp on the program, bringing in WRs Jordy Nelson and Martavius Bryant to pair with Amari Cooper as prime targets for talented QB Derek Carr. And speaking of prime, Oakland will be featured four times on prime-time television this season. The Raiders will also travel more miles than any team in the league this season (31,716). With that, it’s worth noting the Black-and-Silver stands just 5-21 SU in games in Eastern Time zone cities since 2009. With LB Khalil Mack anchoring the defense, preparation for the eventual move to Vegas is officially underway.


    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Jon Gruden is 7-0 SUATS with the Raiders in games in which his team owns a losing record – winning 5 times as an underdog.


    PLAY AGAINST: as a favorite at Baltimore (11/25)
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    Patience pays for Alfred Morris with 49ers
    August 28, 2018
    By The Associated Press



    SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) Alfred Morris knew the right opportunity would come, even as training camps opened and he remained home in Texas.


    Once the San Francisco 49ers called, Morris didn't take long to get comfortable with his new team.


    With a stellar performance in Saturday's exhibition at Indianapolis, the veteran running back appears to have earned a spot on the 49ers' 53-man roster.


    Coach Kyle Shanahan said Morris may not even suit up for Thursday's exhibition finale against the Los Angeles Chargers, a strong indication that the staff already views Morris as a regular-season contributor.


    Patience paid off for the two-time Pro Bowler.


    ''I wasn't panicking,'' Morris said of the wait to find a job. ''It wasn't if I would be on a team, it was when. I had teams reaching out, even in OTAs, but I didn't think it would be a good fit so I turned it down. I knew I would get an opportunity. It was just waiting for the right opportunity.''


    The 29-year-old Morris carried 17 times for 84 yards in Saturday's 23-17 loss to the Colts, displaying a physical style of running that should fit well with San Francisco's offense. Starting running back Jerick McKinnon is known more for speed and shiftiness, and the 5-foot-10, 222-pound Morris can provide a bruising change of pace.


    McKinnon and second-string running back Matt Breida have missed the majority of the preseason with injuries, which provided the opening for the 49ers to sign Morris on Aug. 13.


    McKinnon (strained calf) and Breida (separated shoulder) are expected to be available for the Sept. 9 opener at Minnesota.


    Shanahan, who's familiar with Morris when both were with the Washington Redskins, liked what he saw Saturday.


    ''It was just good to see him do it live,'' Shanahan said. ''I thought we blocked very well, so we gave him an opportunity to do it. . But we had a couple 3rd-and-1's where I thought we missed a guy (blocking) in the backfield and he got hit behind the line of scrimmage but still was able to get us a yard. Those are the ones that allow you to stay on the field and keep running plays.''


    There isn't a ton of intrigue left before the 49ers cut down to their final 53-man roster. One battle is at right guard between Mike Person and Josh Garnett, but when asked about Person, Shanahan said, ''It's his job to lose right now.''


    Shanahan confirmed that backup quarterback C.J. Beathard would start Thursday against the Chargers. Jimmy Garoppolo and several other starters are expected to be held out to avoid injury.


    When training camp began, Morris was at home in Cross Roads, Texas, a town of less than 1,500 people. He relished the extra time with his wife, Lindsey, their 3-year-old son, Josiah, and their 1-year-old daughter, Grace. At times, Morris said, he had to calm his wife's nerves about when he might get a call from an NFL team.


    ''I had a peace, honestly,'' he said. ''At times my wife was like, `Well, what's going on?' And I'm like, `It's OK, it's OK.'''


    NOTES: Linebacker Reuben Foster (concussion) and running back Joe Williams (ribs) didn't practice Wednesday, although Shanahan wouldn't rule either out for Thursday. Foster would have to clear concussion protocol. . Tight end George Kittle (shoulder) returned to practice in a limited capacity. . The 49ers signed undrafted running back Ja'Quan Gardner to a three-year deal Tuesday and waived safety Chanceller James.
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    Will they start? If not, when will the rookie QBs play?
    August 29, 2018
    By The Associated Press



    Will they start? If not, when will they play?


    While there are many scenarios that can dominate the spotlight as the NFL season kicks off, with five teams there is only one.


    The first-round rookie quarterback.


    Eventually, they all will get the chances to be the franchise guy. For such teams as the Browns and Jets, it's been a long and futile search to find their man.


    This Cleveland version of an NFL club arrived in 1999 and still is searching. For New York, the last true franchise QB was Joe Namath, and his historic Super Bowl triumph was 50 seasons ago.


    Buffalo (Jim Kelly), Arizona (Kurt Warner), and Baltimore (Joe Flacco - not elite, but he won a championship) haven't been so empty at the position.


    So what sort of progress did the Browns' Baker Mayfield, Jets' Sam Darnold, Bills' Josh Allen, Cardinals' Josh Rosen and Ravens' Lamar Jackson make so far?


    Let's see.


    ---


    BAKER MAYFIELD, No. 1 overall pick - For excitement alone, this guy can't miss. Of course, Robert Griffin III and Ryan Tannehill have had similar skillsets but not a lot of success (or good health) in the pros.


    Mayfield has worked hard, played well enough and seems to understand he needs to be patient while learning behind Tyrod Taylor. Mayfield has been a consummate teammate - yes, there were knocks on him about it that appear totally unfounded - and Mayfield even dressed up as GM John Dorsey for the team's rookie talent show. The impersonation earned him laughs and respect.


    In games, he has shown poise in the pocket, kept drives alive with runs and he has the ability to keep his eyes downfield while under pressure.


    But barring an injury to Taylor, Mayfield is a backup for now.


    ''When I look at what Baker has done, walking in here, handling everything form the media to his teammates to all of the expectations and all of that, I think that he has been outstanding,'' coach Hue Jackson says. ''I can't say that enough. He is handling all of this the right way, and I think that is very, very important for his future and what he is trying to accomplish.''


    ---


    SAM DARNOLD, No. 3 overall pick - He's the front-runner to be the starter when the regular season opens after a solid summer and preseason.


    It's been pretty clear this has been Darnold's job to lose from the moment he took the field three days late after some haggling over his contract. And, it's more than the numbers, which aren't eye-popping: 29 of 45 for 244 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. It's the way Darnold has handled himself in games, showing the instincts of a veteran when plays break down around him.


    ''He moves to the next play,'' offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates said. ''For a young kid, that's unbelievable. He doesn't dwell on it, he moves on. Actually, when he has a mistake, usually the next play he's more focused, more intense and he usually does better that next play. He's a mature 21-year-old and nothing is too big for him. He doesn't get down on himself.''


    ---


    JOSH ALLEN , No. 7 overall pick - The Bills gave up on Taylor by trading the third-year starter to Cleveland, mostly due to his inability to fit the pocket passer mold coach Sean McDermott prefers. Buffalo then traded up five spots to draft Wyoming's Allen with the seventh pick, understanding the strong-armed but raw player would require time to develop.


    Allen remains a work in progress, reflected in his hesitancy in his first preseason start, a 26-13 loss to Cincinnati. Allen got little protection from a patchwork offensive line and finished with fewer yards passing (34) than the 39 yards he lost while being sacked five times.


    That was considered a step backward - inaccuracy again was an issue - after he showed promise in combining to go 18 of 32 for 176 yards and two touchdowns while overseeing the second- and third-stringers in his first two preseason games.


    Returning backup Nathan Peterman has put up the best numbers of Buffalo's three quarterbacks, but is he really the future? No, Allen is.


    ---


    JOSH ROSEN, No. 10 overall pick - Never one to lack confidence, Rosen impressed coaches and teammates from the moment he arrived in camp, quickly absorbing offensive coordinator Mike McCoy's offense. Rosen said he believes he's ''pretty much gotten better every day I've been here.''


    He shows his emotions after a bad play, but has drawn none of the negativity from within the organization that seems so pervasive from the outside, where he's sometimes criticized as being too smart, too cocky, having too many outside interests for his own good.


    Rosen has been all football and has praised Sam Bradford for the help he's provided. Bradford returns the compliments.


    ''He's hungry for information,'' Bradford says. ''It seems like he's always trying to learn something. It doesn't stop in the meeting rooms. Even at the dinner table he'll ask me. It's fun to be around someone like that and to hopefully try to be able to help him.''


    Rosen sat out Sunday night's win in Dallas with a jammed thumb after hitting it on a helmet during practice early last week.


    Bradford is the unchallenged starter, but given his injury history, it will be no surprise if Rosen at some point has to take over the offense this year.


    ---


    LAMAR JACKSON , No. 32 overall pick - After looking very much like a rookie in Baltimore's first three preseason games, Jackson showed marked improvement in his fourth go at it. Facing the Dolphins, Jackson ran for a touchdown and threw for a score.


    ''I'm working my way up right now,'' he said. ''Fourth preseason game, I felt like I did pretty good. But there's still room for improvement.''


    Coach John Harbaugh said, ''We've seen it in practice where he's done some really good things, but we hadn't really seen it in a game yet. And today just fell into place for him a little bit.''


    Jackson won a Heisman Trophy at Louisville. He understands that Joe Flacco is the starter, so the rookie is striving to learn from both Flacco and RG3 and seems willing to wait for his time to shine. The Ravens' performance behind Flacco early in the season could determine if and when Jackson gets a shot.
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    Eagles' Pederson not divulging QB choice
    August 28, 2018
    By The Associated Press



    PHILADELPHIA (AP) Eagles coach Doug Pederson doesn't plan to reveal whether Carson Wentz or Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles will start the season opener until 90 minutes before the game.


    Wentz has been recovering from surgery last December to repair a torn ACL and LCL in his left knee. He is practicing, but hasn't been medically cleared for contact.


    ''I've made comments that his arm was live and throwing some really, really nice throws and very strong,'' Pederson said Tuesday. ''Then when he came back into the 11-on-11, one of the noticeable changes again, or differences, was just his lower body strength and how well he's progressed through his rehab and conditioning.''


    Foles struggled in two preseason games and won't play Thursday night against the New York Jets. The offense didn't score any points on 14 drives with Foles under center in the preseason. However, he was missing nearly all starters at the skill positions.


    Pederson indicated he would make a decision Friday, but doesn't plan to disclose which quarterback will line up when Philadelphia hosts the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 6 until game day.


    ''This is still preseason and we're giving all our quarterbacks reps at this time,'' Pederson said. ''When you get into the regular season and start game planning, then you want whoever that gentlemen is going to be, to take the full complement of reps.''
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    Eagles start on top of 1st AP Pro 32 poll of 2018 season
    August 28, 2018
    By The Associated Press



    NEW YORK (AP) The Eagles are looking for a Green Repeat.


    Led by Nick Foles, the Philadelphia Eagles won their first Super Bowl last season with a 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots.


    Foles took over last season when Carson Wentz tore the ACL and LCL in his left knee. Wentz is not expected to be ready when the Eagles begin defense of their title on Sept. 6 by hosting the Atlanta Falcons to open the NFL's regular season.


    The Patriots are the most recent team to win consecutive championships, winning Super Bowls 38 and 39.


    And the Eagles will start their quest as the top team in the first AP Pro 32 poll of the 2018 season.


    The Eagles received six of the 12 first-place votes and 367 points in balloting by media members who regularly cover the NFL.


    The Patriots, who have been to eight Super Bowls in the Tom Brady and Bill Belichick era, were a close second - just as they were in the loss to the Eagles in Minneapolis. The Patriots received three first-place votes and finished with 366 points.


    ''As long as the Killer B's, Brady and Belichick, reside in Foxborough, the Pats will loom as the team to beat,'' said Ira Kaufman of SB Nation Radio.


    The Minnesota Vikings, who lost to the Eagles in the NFC championship game, are No. 3. The Vikings added quarterback Kirk Cousins in the offseason to a team with high expectations.


    ''Is Kirk Cousins the answer? That's the only question about this team,'' Pro Football Talk's Charean Williams said.


    The Los Angeles Rams, who won the NFC West last season, earned two first-place votes and are No. 4.


    ''(Brandin) Cooks dynamite in new offense,'' Fox Sports' John Czarnecki said of the speedy wide receiver who had 1,082 yards last season in New England.


    The Pittsburgh Steelers, who have won three of the past four AFC North titles, are No. 5.


    Drew Brees and the Saints received the other first-place vote and will start the season at No. 6.


    ''My projected Super Bowl winner leads this list,'' said Alex Marvez of The Sporting News. ''Tom Benson would have loved the Super Bowl 53 post party.''


    The Jacksonville Jaguars, who were in position to reach the Super Bowl until blowing a fourth-quarter lead at New England in the AFC title game, are No. 7.


    The Jaguars will start the season short-handed after they lost receiver Marqise Lee for the season with a knee injury. He was hurt in a preseason game against the Falcons, who are No. 8 in the poll.


    The Packers, who slumped to a 7-9 season after Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone, will begin at No. 9.


    And L.A.'s other team, the Chargers, round out the top 10.


    At the bottom of the poll, the Colts will start at No. 30 despite the return of franchise QB Andrew Luck.


    The Browns, who have lost 31 of 32 games in the past two seasons, are fittingly No. 31. The Browns will have a tough opener as they host the Steelers.


    And the Jets, who could start rookie Sam Darnold at QB, will begin in last place at No. 32.


    ''The future may be bright with Sam Darnold, but the present looks brutal,'' Marvez said.
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    THURSDAY, AUGUST 30
    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS



    MIA at ATL 07:00 PM
    MIA -1.0
    U 35.5



    CLE at DET 07:00 PM
    CLE -2.5
    U 35.5



    NYJ at PHI 07:00 PM
    NYJ -1.5
    U 33.5



    IND at CIN 07:00 PM
    IND +2.5
    O 34.5



    NE at NYG 07:00 PM
    NE +2.5
    O 38.5



    CAR at PIT 07:30 PM
    CAR +2.5
    O 36.0



    JAC at TB 07:30 PM
    JAC +1.5
    U 34.5



    WAS at BAL 07:30 PM
    BAL -6.5
    O 34.5



    LAR at NO 08:00 PM
    LAR +6.0
    O 34.0



    MIN at TEN 08:00 PM
    MIN +0.0
    U 36.0



    BUF at CHI 08:00 PM
    CHI -3.0
    O 36.5



    DAL at HOU 08:00 PM
    HOU -4.5
    U 34.5



    GB at KC 08:30 PM
    GB +3.5
    O 36.0



    OAK at SEA 10:00 PM
    OAK +3.0
    U 34.0



    LAC at SF 10:00 PM
    LAC +3.0
    O 34.5



    DEN at ARI 10:00 PM
    DEN +1.0
    U 35.0
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    Mayfield sharp as Browns roll over Lions
    August 30, 2018



    DETROIT (AP) Baker Mayfield threw for 138 yards in a dominant first half for Cleveland, and the Browns wrapped up the preseason with a 35-17 victory over the Detroit Lions on Thursday night.


    Mayfield completed a 41-yard pass to Devon Cajuste on the first play from scrimmage, and the top overall pick in this year's draft looked sharp throughout his two quarters directing Cleveland's offense.


    With Tyrod Taylor atop the depth chart at quarterback, the Browns are likely to bring Mayfield along slowly. But if the rookie doesn't play again for a while, this was a nice note to finish on before the start of the regular season.


    Nick Chubb and Matthew Dayes ran for touchdowns for Cleveland in what was generally a battle of backups.


    The Lions closed out an uninspiring preseason under new coach Matt Patricia. They were booed off the field at halftime by the sparse crowd at Ford Field with the score 25-0.


    COLTS 27, BENGALS 26


    CINCINNATI (AP) - Matt Barkley's left knee was injured by a low hit after he threw a pass, giving Jeff Driskel the inside track for the Bengals' backup quarterback role.


    For the second year in a row, the Bengals (3-1) lost a quarterback to injury in the final preseason game. Last year, Driskel broke the thumb on his passing hand in Indianapolis, ending his season. Cincinnati also has seventh-round pick Logan Woodside.


    It was the most high-profile job up for grabs in a game that featured few starters. The Colts' Andrew Luck and the Bengals' Andy Dalton watched as reserves competed for roster spots.


    The No. 2 quarterback job hadn't been an issue for the Bengals since they drafted AJ McCarron in 2014. He led them to the playoffs the following year when Dalton broke the thumb on his passing hand. The Bengals asserted McCarron was still under contract for 2018 because he was hurt during his rookie season, but McCarron won a grievance and became a free agent, going to Buffalo. The Bengals then signed Barkley.


    On Cincinnati's second possession, Kemoko Turay hit Barkley in the legs after he threw a pass, drawing a roughing-the-passer penalty. Barkley came to the sideline to have the knee examined and walked to the locker room. He didn't return.


    DOLPHINS 34, FALCONS 7


    ATLANTA (AP) - Brock Osweiler made a strong final bid for Miami's backup quarterback job, leading three first-quarter touchdown drives. Osweiler is competing with David Fales to be Ryan Tannehill's backup. Osweiler completed each of his first six passes for 65 yards, including a 1-yard scoring pass to Buddy Howell on Miami's opening drive. He added a 14-yard scoring pass to Francis Owusu on the final play of the third quarter.


    Osweiler completed 16 of 25 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns for the Dolphins (1-3). Fales completed 13 of 20 passes for 94 yards and one interception.


    The Falcons (0-4) had little offense with its stars, including quarterback Matt Ryan, running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman and wide receiver Julio Jones, watching on the sideline. Atlanta was held to nine first downs and 185 yards.

    EAGLES 10, JETS 9



    PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Christian Hackenberg had a rough audition for an NFL roster spot, tossing two interceptions, but the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles rallied.


    Joe Callahan threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Matt Jones with 18 seconds left to lift Philadelphia (1-3).


    Jason Myers kicked field goals of 58 and 43 yards for the Jets (1-3). New York's defense didn't allow a touchdown in August until the final drive.


    Eagles quarterbacks Carson Wentz, Nick Foles and Nate Sudfeld watched from the sideline, while Jets rookie Sam Darnold also was a spectator. Darnold is expected to be New York's starting quarterback in Week 1 at Detroit. Wentz is still recovering from knee surgery last December and is waiting for medical clearance to play. Foles, the Super Bowl MVP, would start the opener next Thursday night if Wentz can't go.


    Hackenberg didn't take a snap in two seasons with the Jets after he was selected in the second round of the 2016 draft. He signed with the Eagles earlier in the month as the fifth quarterback and has no chance to make the roster so he was playing for his next job.


    JAGUARS 25, BUCCANEERES 10


    TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Fourth-stringer Tim Cook ran for a pair of second-half touchdowns, and Carroll Phillips returned a fumble for another TD to help Jacksonville.


    Cook scored on runs of 1 and 3 yards, while Phillips picked up a fumble by rookie quarterback Austin Allen and ran it back 28 yards during a 19-point third quarter that turned a 10-3 halftime deficit into a 12-point lead.


    Regulars for both teams sat out the finale in mostly empty Raymond James Stadium. A total of 34 players did not dress for the Jaguars, including every starter on offense and defense.


    Tampa Bay's starters had the night off, too, as did suspended quarterback Jameis Winston, who must sit out the first three games of the regular season for violating the league's personal conduct policy.


    PATRIOTS 17, GIANTS 12


    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - Third-stringer Danny Etling tossed a 1-yard touchdown pass to Ralph Webb early in the second half and iced the game with an 86-yard run late.


    Giants quarterback Eli Manning chatted with receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in the first half, while Tom Brady sat next to the New England water coolers and relaxed.


    There wasn't much action on the field, with the biggest play coming late after an Alex Tanney-led drive from the New York 1 stalled at the Patriots 14 with New England ahead 10-6. Etling faked a handoff and ran an option around right end and scored untouched to give the Patriots a 3-1 preseason record. The Giants finished their first preseason under new coach Pat Shurmur at 2-2.


    VIKINGS 13, TITANS 3


    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Rookie Daniel Carlson kicked field goals of 39 and 22 yards, and Kyle Sloter added a 24-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. Carlson rebounded from missing a pair of 42-yarders wide left a week ago after beating out Kai Forbath for the job. Carlson connected from 39 yards late in the first half, tying it 3-3. He added a 22-yarder midway through the third quarter, giving the Vikings (3-1) a 6-3 lead.


    The Titans finished first-year coach Mike Vrabel's first preseason winless, though he made clear protecting starters for the regular season mattered more than notching an exhibition victory.


    The starters who did play were the kickers, and the Titans kept Pro Bowl punter Brett Kern very busy. He punted five times before his backup took over.


    RAVENS 30, REDSKINS 20


    BALTIMORE (AP) - Ravens rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson ran for a touchdown while backup Robert Griffin III spent the entire game on the sideline as Baltimore completed its third consecutive unbeaten preseason.


    Jackson played the first half and led Baltimore (5-0) on three scoring drives. The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner and first-round draft pick is sure to make the team, but coach John Harbaugh has not yet revealed whether he will keep Griffin, who's currently No. 2 on the depth chart behind starter Joe Flacco. Griffin, a five-year veteran, went 27 for 41 during the preseason and showed no rust after sitting out last year.


    Kevin Hogan played the entire game at quarterback for the Redskins (1-3), going 22 for 38 for 272 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions in his bid to unseat Colt McCoy as the backup to Alex Smith.


    His first interception was returned 23 yards for a touchdown by Kai Nacua to make it 27-7.


    STEELERS 39, PANTHERS 24


    PITTSBURGH (AP) - Josh Dobbs put together a compelling case to be on someone's NFL roster next week, throwing for a touchdown and running for another.


    Dobbs, fighting for one of the backup quarterback jobs behind Ben Roethlisberger, vaulted into the end zone for a 3-yard scoring run to cap Pittsburgh's first drive. He added a 27-yard strike to Tevin Jones later in the opening quarter and finished 8 of 12 for 151 yards to cap an impressive training camp.


    It just might not be enough for the 2017 fourth-round pick to stick around. Dobbs, veteran Landry Jones and rookie Mason Rudolph are all vying for a spot behind Roethlisberger. Jones, who has played well while filling in for Roethlisberger over the last three seasons, is likely safe. So too is Rudolph, a third-round pick this spring.


    Carolina's Taylor Heincke played well in his bid to be the top backup behind Cam Newton. Heincke started and was 7 of 12 for 68 yards and a 6-yard touchdown to Mose Frazier. Garrett Gilbert came on in the second quarter and was 4 of 7 for 23 yards.


    TEXANS 14, COWBOYS 6


    HOUSTON (AP) - Houston rookie running back Terry Swanson rushed for a 37-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter to lift the Texans. The undrafted rookie running back out of Toledo, who served as an understudy to the Chiefs' Kareem Hunt in college, found a hole with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter to put the Texans up two scores. Swanson finished with 69 yards on 17 carries.


    Both teams rested their starters.


    Houston took a 7-3 lead in the first quarter after third-round pick safety Justin Reid intercepted Cooper Rush's pass to set up a 4-yard touchdown run by Alfred Blue. Blue, competing for the backup job behind Lamar Miller, rushed for 18 yards on four carries, while Troymaine Pope rushed for 21 yards on five carries.


    The Cowboys scored on two field goals from backup kicker Brett Maher, one on their opening drive from 57 yards and one late in the fourth quarter from 41.


    BILLS 28, BEARS 27


    CHICAGO (AP) - AJ McCarron made a shaky case for a roster spot, leading a surge in the fourth quarter after struggling for most of the game.


    With both teams holding out their starters and few key reserves playing, the focus was on McCarron. He ran for a touchdown and threw for three more in the fourth - including a 6-yarder to Keith Towbridge in the closing minute. That capped an 84-yard drive aided by two roughing-the-passer calls, including one against Isaiah Irving on a fourth down at the Buffalo 3.


    McCarron was 13 of 34 for 156 yards and had an interception returned for a touchdown in the early going.


    Tyler Bray made a case for the Bears to keep three quarterbacks. With Mitchell Trubisky and backup Chase Daniel not playing, Bray was 19 of 29 for 180 yards and an interception. Ryan Nall ran for 79 yards, including a 32-yard touchdown.


    SAINTS 28, RAMS 0


    NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Cameron Meredith caught two passes for 72 yards and a touchdown. The former Bears wide receiver was one of the top free agents signed by the Saints, who brought him in even though he had major knee surgery last fall. Meredith's rehab from the injury has gone well, but he was limited in training camp and didn't catch a pass in the first three preseason games.


    Meredith caught a 56-yard pass from Taysom Hill to set up rookie Boston Scott's 4-yard touchdown run for the game's first score. Hill threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Meredith for a 12-0 halftime lead.


    Hill targeted Meredith throughout the first half, overthrowing him on a 2-point conversion attempt and a third-down pass into the end zone before Wil Lutz's 34-yard field goal. That made it 15-0 for the Saints (3-1) and they coasted.


    CHIEFS 33, PACKERS 21


    KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Rookie safety Armani Watts intercepted two passes, while Makinton Dorleant returned another pick for a touchdown for Kansas City.


    Chad Henne, Matt McGloin and Chase Litton were all solid under center for Kansas City while Patrick Mahomes watched from the sideline. Harrison Butker was perfect on four field-goal attempts.


    The Chiefs' Byron Pringle, an undrafted free agent who's had a strong preseason, caught four passes for 122 yards before leaving early in the second half with a hamstring injury.


    DeShone Kizer started for Green Bay and was 5 of 7 for 57 yards with a touchdown and a pick. A 2017 second-round draft choice of the Browns, Kizer is expected to back up Aaron Rodgers after this week's trade of erstwhile backup Brett Hundley to the Seahawks.


    Aaron Jones, who will begin the season serving a two-game suspension, ran for 34 yards and a touchdown as the Packers built a 21-10 lead. But the Chiefs' third-string offense moved the ball at will, and Dorleant's pick-6 early in the fourth quarter put an exclamation mark on their comeback.


    BRONCOS 21, CARDINALS 10


    GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Paxton Lynch made his case for backup quarterback - or at least staying on Denver's roster - with a near-perfect second half. Lynch completed 14 of 15 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns and was not intercepted.


    Chad Kelly, who seemed to have a tenuous hold on the backup job behind Denver starter Case Keenum entering the game, played the first half and went 12 of 19 for 126 yards and no touchdowns with one interception.


    Lynch had TD passes of 16 yards to Jordan Leslie in the third quarter and 10 yards to Matt LaCosse on the first play of the fourth.


    Mike Glennon, the subject of some trade speculation as Arizona's No. 3 quarterback behind Sam Bradford and rookie Josh Rosen, played the entire first half, going 8 of 10 for 69 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.


    Arizona finished the preseason 3-1 and Denver 2-2.


    CHARGERS 23, 49ERS 21


    SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - Roberto Aguayo kicked a 26-yard field goal on the final play. Aguayo is in a battle with Caleb Sturgis to win the kicking job for the Chargers (2-2) and got the opportunity for the winner against San Francisco. Coach Anthony Lynn had rotated his kickers during the game, with both making 36-yard field goals and extra points before Aguayo got the final chance after a 63-yard kick return by Detrez Newsome set up the winning drive.


    The kick spoiled a storybook night for San Francisco's Jack Heneghan. Heneghan was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Dartmouth as a camp arm for the Niners (1-3), joining the franchise his father, Lal, used to work for as a lawyer.


    Heneghan never got the chance to take snaps in team drills in practice this summer or in the three exhibition games. But with most of the regulars sitting out Thursday, coach Kyle Shanahan gave him a chance and Heneghan made the most of it. He went 8 for 9 for 58 yards and ran twice for 17 yards to lead the two TD drives.


    Jeff Wilson scored on a 2-yard run and Jeremy McNichols had a 6-yard TD with 2:58 to play.


    Cardale Jones threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Andre Patton and Terrell Watson scored on a 4-yard run on the final play of the first half for the Chargers.


    RAIDERS 30, SEAHAWKS 19


    SEATTLE (AP) - E.J. Manuel made a strong bid to be Oakland's backup quarterback, throwing for 255 yards and three touchdowns. Manuel completed 18 of 22 passes in the competition with Connor Cook to be Derek Carr's backup. He hit Keon Hatcher on both of his touchdowns in the first half and added a 45-yard TD to Saeed Blacknall in the third quarter.


    Hatcher caught a 45-yard TD in the first quarter when he spun off Seattle's Justin Coleman as he was being tackled to the ground, never touched the turf and completed the catch-and-run score that was upheld on review.


    Manuel found Hatcher again on a 19-yard TD strike late in the second quarter. Raiders coach Jon Gruden was unhappy with the performance of both Manuel and Cook after last week's game.


    Cook came on late in the third quarter and threw a 22-yard TD to Hatcher in the fourth quarter. Hatcher had eight catches for 128 yards.


    Oakland finished the preseason 3-1, while Seattle went 0-4, its first winless preseason in franchise history. The teams will meet in Week 6 in London.
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  23. #173  
    RX Local
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Las Vegas
    Posts
    81,532
    NFL PRESEASON RECORD:


    DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD


    08/30/2018 22-10 68.75% +55.00
    08/26/2018 2-2-0 50.00% -1.00
    08/25/2018 6-7-1 46.15% -8.50
    08/24/2018 4-8-0 33.33% -24.00
    08/23/2018 2-0-0 100.00% +10.00
    08/20/2018 1-1-0 50.00% -0.50
    08/18/2018 8-5-1 61.53% +12.50
    08/17/2018 3-7-0 30.00% -23.50
    08/16/2018 5-1-0 83.33% +19.50
    08/11/2018 1-3-0 25.00% -11.50
    08/10/2018 2-2-0 50.00% -1.00
    08/09/2018 10-14-0 41.66% -27.00
    08/02/2018 1-1-0 50.00% -0.50


    TOTALS...........67- 61........52.34%.....+1.50





    ******************




    WEEK 1


    Thursday, September 6, 2018

    Time (ET) Away Home
    8:20 PM Atlanta Falcons Philadelphia Eagles


    Sunday, September 9, 2018
    Time (ET) Away Home
    1:00 PM Buffalo Bills Baltimore Ravens
    1:00 PM Pittsburgh Steelers Cleveland Browns
    1:00 PM Cincinnati Bengals Indianapolis Colts
    1:00 PM Tennessee Titans Miami Dolphins
    1:00 PM San Francisco 49ers Minnesota Vikings
    1:00 PM Houston Texans New England Patriots
    1:00 PM Tampa Bay Buccaneers New Orleans Saints
    1:00 PM Jacksonville Jaguars New York Giants
    4:05 PM Kansas City Chiefs Los Angeles Chargers
    4:25 PM Washington Redskins Arizona Cardinals
    4:25 PM Dallas Cowboys Carolina Panthers
    4:25 PM Seattle Seahawks Denver Broncos
    8:20 PM Chicago Bears Green Bay Packers


    Monday, September 10, 2018
    Time (ET) Away Home
    7:10 PM New York Jets Detroit Lions
    10:20 PM Los Angeles Rams Oakland Raiders
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